Mao Cai

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Mao Cai

Alternative names 冒菜
Pinyin mào cài
Type Spicy, Hot
Course Main course
Place of origin China
Region or state Chengdu, Sichuan
Other Cooking time: 30 Minutes

What is Mao Cai

What is Mao Cai

Mao Cai(Simplified Chinese: 冒菜; Traditional Chinese: 冒菜; Pinyin: mào cài),Mao Cai is a dish primarily made from meat, soy products, green vegetables, seafood, and mushrooms. It is a traditional snack originated from Chengdu, Sichuan Province.

The most orthodox way to enjoy Maocai is to eat with “dry spice plate”, that is, to place dry chili powder in a small dish, add spices like salt and gourmet powder, then gently dip the blanched ingredients in the dry spice plate, and stuff them into your mouth. Maocai tastes spicy, hot, and really delicious.


Maocai tastes spicy, hot, and really delicious.


Calories (kcal) 68.00 (Per 100 grams)

Carbohydrate (g) 3.22 (Per 100 grams)

Fat (g) 4.85 (Per 100 grams)

Protein (g) 3.97 (Per 100 grams)

Cellulose (g) 1.03 (Per 100 grams)


Mao Cai is estimated to be 68 kcal per 100 grams of calories.

In English

Mao Cai


In the first version of records, Maocai originated from Sichuan marinated food. Sichuan marinated food and cold food in sauce are famous across the country. Some lazy people directly bought cooked food from the market for convenience and economy. As marinated food was kept in brines, the sellers would add some spices and traditional Chinese medicines so as to avoid wasting the grease in brine, and then blench some vegetables in it. The blenched food tasted good, so they began to sell it together with the cold dishes. The dish sold well, which has thus generated “Maocai”.

Mao Cai Origin

In the second version of records. In late Eastern Han Dynasty, due to warfare for successive years, various diseases broke out, and the soldiers lost their appetite; in order to prevent the spread of diseases, the military doctors often asked the cooks to add some Chinese medicines into the food, which can not only prevent and remedy diseases but also produce aroma and flavor the food. Medicines were mixed with the spices to make marinated ingredients. Later, all kinds of vegetables were blenched and cooked in terms of the improved recipe.

Chengdu Mao Cai

Mao Cai is a feature of Chengdu. Maocai is a dish cooked through by sauce brewed from traditional Chinese medicines and a variety of condiments; the food is stuffed in a bamboo spoon, and a serving size is often one spoonful; blench the food in a pot, then transfer it into a bowl with prepared condiments, and add a spoonful of sauce, and sprinkle parsley, chopped green onion and Sichuan-specific fermented soya beans over it, hence the most famous and distinctive Chengdu snack “Maocai”. To put it simply, “Maocai is the hotpot for one person, while the hotpot is Maocai for a group of people.”

Chengdu Mao Cai


Comparison of Mao Cai, Chuan Chuan Xiang and Chong Qing Hot Pot is probably that Mao Cai’s soup can also be drunk, few people may dare to use a spoon to taste the soup base of delicacies skewers and hotpot.


Mao Cai Ingredients

Main Ingredients

Food Amount
Soy products Moderate amount
Green vegetables Moderate amount
Seafood Moderate amount
Mushrooms Moderate amount
Others food Moderate amount


Seasoning Amount
Beef Tallow Moderate amount
Fermented Rice Wine Moderate amount
Scallion Cubes Moderate amount
Green Onion Cubes Moderate amount
Ginger Slices Moderate amount
Broad Bean Paste Moderate amount
Dried Chili Moderate amount


Step 1

Maocai Recipe Step (1)

All ingredients should be prepared beforehand.

Step 2

Maocai Recipe Step (2)

Various spices are soaked in warm water for 10 minutes.

Step 3

Maocai Recipe Step (3)

Pour beef tallow into the soaked spices and stir-fry them for several minutes, add fermented rice wine, scallion cubes, green onion cubes, ginger slices and broad bean paste, then stir them well, add some dried chili, and continue to stir fry for 5 minutes.

Step 4

Maocai Recipe Step (4)

Add the well fried spices into the soup-stock.

Step 5

Maocai Recipe Step (5)

Add the processed ingredients.

Step 6

Maocai Recipe Step (6)

Serve the cooked ingredients on the plate. (Note harder cooked food first wok cook for a while)

Step 7

Maocai Recipe Step (7)

Pour the filtered soup. It's done.

Types of Mao Cai

Types of Mao Cai

After several improvements, Maocai has altered from originally a kind of marinated food to a dish that caters to the taste of people from different places. For example: Huoguo Maocai, brine-based Maocai, water-based Maocai, broth-based Maocai, marinated-based Maocai, slightly spicy-based Maocai, special spicy-based Maocai, rattan peppers-based Maocai and marinated-based Maocai.

Huoguo Maocai(also called Maocai Hot Pot )

namely the hotpot dishes, shares the identical basic form but has different substrates.(Large calories)

Brine-based Maocai

A spice compounding similar to brine. After eating all the ingredients, you can still enjoy the delicious, mild soup base.(Medium calories)

Water-based Maocai

Put the ingredients into a large pot filled with tap water, cook them thoroughly, transfer them into a bowl, and then add some spices and sesame oil.(Fewer calories)

Similar Food


Bang Bang Chicken

Chuan Chuan Xiang

Bo Bo Chicken

Chong Qing Hot Pot